EEK! We know that the high street (or actually in other words, the shopping centre of any city) has come under attack from the rise of online shopping opportunities. Many of us… holding a hand up here, find it easy, convenient and efficient to shop online – at any time of the day or night, without having to find a babysitter, a parking spot or carry a load of bags. After all, you can choose what you want, compare prices, pay and have your shopping delivered. A recent report from togethermoney.com puts is quite succinctly, and it’s not all bad news.
The results of a survey of 6682 businesses across 120 high streets from towns in all 12 regions of the UK shows that while on average, only just over 30% of the high street is comprised of retail outlets, (Yorkshire is top with 41.77% of retails while West Midlands has just 19.39%) that means nearly 70% of the remaining shops or businesses are services…. cafes, food and drink businesses like restaurants and bars, financial services and hairdressers. YAY! So, humans are still sociable… well mostly!!
Interestingly, the same survey claims that 43% of the average high street comprises independent businesses (ie small entreprises are holding their own over chains and department stores). It seems that local, independent shops are of high importance to Brits. We like and want more local shops – we like individuality – we enjoy a bespoke service.
KEEP IT PERSONAL
Another report, this time from onbuy.com … surveying 1426 Brits, and says that while 82% of Brits are shopping online monthly, we don’t like to buy everything on line. Apparently the top three things we will choose to buy on line if possible, and don’t like to buy in store, and go to online are; • sex toys (92%) • tech accessories (81%) such as phone chargers, cases and batteries • beauty tools (80%). Which is a shame and includes the likes of hair tools
Conversely, the items we do want to buy in person in stores, and try to avoid buying online are: • bras (85%) • make-up (81%) • perfume (73%).
Drawing out the positive, if we believe we need to ensure a product is personal to us we will shop for ourselves in a bricks and mortar store… unless it’s an embarrassing item. This is a clear flag to hairdressing that you need to be aware of these consumer shopping trends, turn them to your advantage and ensure market your salon – from services to retail, as important to experience in person. You must prioritise the customer experience you offer above all else. Standard of skills and technique sadly perhaps, isn’t the key driver for your clients. They need to enjoy themselves most of all.
What keeps people away from the high street, and sends them shopping on line is the belief that going out in person is time-wasting. Increasingly we hate to queue. We hate being confused by what’s on offer, if signage is confusing or unclear it’s irritating. We don’t like items being advertised then out of stock or not available in all sizes. We want value for money, and to know we’re getting the best offer possible. We want to be able to pay by card. Of course, most of us will never allow a machine to cut, style and colour our hair, but we will alter the services we opt for, wait longer between appointments, and buy our hair tools and care products online if that’s preferable. Keep all this in mind when planning your customer journey.
VALUE YOUR CLIENTS
In summary, as consumers, we do prefer to shop and we value our high street, but we want to be revered, well-treated. The experience of spending money is as important as the product or service. GOOD LUCK!
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